Sunday, March 25, 2012


Life's been very full, but I've had such a great weekend.  Right now I'm sitting outside on the swing while the kids play.  I just woke up from a nap.  It's been great to slow down.

The week was very busy getting back from our Spring Break trip.  In our process or trying to simplify and cut out waste and excess, I spent the week focusing on the food intake at the Sandlin house.  I don't like to brag, but I am a master grocery shopper. You didn't know that existed, did you? I find the deals and I stockpile and I stay within our grocery budget.  I stretch a meal and I make it last.  What I don't do - ever - is look at food labels.  We try to eat healthy, but I never minded my processed, convenient food because I'm all about making things easy and uncomplicated. I'm an all or nothing kind of person and if I open that can of worms, who knows where it will take me?

Well, this week I opened it up and now I can't stop reading labels. I'm obsessed with it.  I'm trying to fight my all or nothing impulse and ease into this attempt to reduce our processed food intake.  I decided to make 1 or 2 changes each week, but went a little overboard. This week I made wheat tortillas (not sure I would call this a success since my kitchen filled with smoke), my mom's pinto beans, peanut butter (easiest thing in the world and approved by JC), and smoothies for breakfast in place of those Nutrigrain bars that are so easy to pull out of the pantry.

We prepared our garden for planting in a few weekends and pulled up enough carrots from our fall planting to fill up 2 bags, one for us and one for the ministry the garden partners with that distributes food.  Since I haven't quite convinced myself to blow my grocery budget and buy organic, my plan is to plant as much as I can in our garden this year.

It was a somewhat successful week, but I was exhausted.  I spent too much time in the kitchen, hardly opened my Bible, and skipped my workout.  I think a little balance is called for this week.

All that to say my weekend away came at the perfect time.  I got to spend it with my sister, her best friend flew in, whom I happen to love too, and lots of her sweet friends. 

I drove to Fort Worth on Friday and enjoyed my drive so much with the beautiful spring flowers covering the pastures and my book on CD.  Lindsey and I had dinner and then sat in line for 2 hours to get seats together for Hunger Games.  I don't know if my sis knows how much I enjoyed those 3 hours of waiting - just sitting and talking with nothing to do and no one needing me.  Her friends joined us and the movie was great and I even enjoyed staying out until 1:30. 

Saturday was great hanging with the girls, eating lunch on the patio, and just getting ready to shower Lindsey with lots of goodies.  The shower was fun and once again I got to stay out way past my bedtime! I love seeing Lindsey so happy.  

To top the whole weekend off I got to spend the night with my Mimi last night and have breakfast with her this morning before I drove back home to my babies.  

I needed the weekend to reflect.  Taylor and I have been talking a lot about things.  There are so many ways we want to make a difference that it gets overwhelming.  We struggled with where to buy our kids' shoes this week and found that there are no easy answers.  Fair trade kids' shoes are hard to come by and trying to buy American made tennis shoes is almost impossible!  I know it sounds so silly to spend my days worrying about such things and yet I've been aware of the slavery in our world for a while and the workers who make next to nothing so we can have our cheap goods and I've done nothing.  I remember hearing that there are more slaves in the world today than there were before the Civil War, but I didn't think I could change anything so I just go along with the mainstream because it's easier.

I was watching The Help again the other night with Taylor.  I asked him what he thought we would have been like living in that time.  Would we have just gone along with everyone else because there was no way we could change the way things were, or would we have been brave and tried to make a difference?    I want to be braver than I've been before so that my life matches up more with my convictions. I know it may not make a difference in the world, but I think it might make a difference in my little family.  I'm going to give it a try anyway! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Break 2012

We had a great Spring Break.  We spent the first weekend at home watching movies, cleaning, resting, and playing with friends.  On Monday night we headed to Weatherford.  I took zero pictures there.  I have no excuse, but I'm sure you can picture it because I've posted pics of it all before.  We shopped, hung out with Mimi and DeeDee, ate and played at Central Market, and enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the Hamiltons'.

Wednesday morning we headed to Texarkana.

 We went up to Poppa's school to run off some energy after being in the car all day...
and it worked!
Promise we didn't let him sleep in there!

 G-Momma had to work on Thursday morning so we drove to Hot Springs with Poppa and went to the Mid America Museum.  It was a fun place!

Friday was shopping, playing at the park, jumping at Jumping Apes, and eating out.

 Lindsey and Uncle Erick came in from Houston on Friday night.  Saturday my picture deficiency kicked back in.  Let's blame in on my allergies.  The girls got pedicures in the morning then we all went to eat at Poppa's favorite authentic Mexican food restaurant with our friends, Todd and Brooke.  We had to show Lindsey state line since this was her first trip to Texarkana.  Then they all took the kids to play miniature golf.

 Saturday night Poppa grilled out and Aunt Jan and Uncle Terry came to visit from Marshall and Todd and Brooke came back over.  It was a full, fun house.

Thanks for having us G-Momma and Poppa!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Mid-Mid Life Crisis

I think I'm having one. I hope it isn't a mid life crisis because I really want to live past 66.  I'm not buying a sports car or running off with a younger man (although Taylor may not think that is a bad idea after some of our heart to heart conversations lately).

It began in January on a car ride to pick up my kids from my parents all by myself.  I do some deep thinking on these trips.  My baby is starting kindergarten in the fall and I'm struggling with what's next for me.  I love the simplicity (this is my new favorite word this year) of our life these days - getting to work part time but having enough time to be with my kids and get all the household stuff taken care of.  I'm a walking paradox though. As I want to simplify in most areas there are still some things I really want.  I REALLY want to go to South Africa for the next BWA in 2015.  I REALLY want to take my kids - not just there but everywhere.  I REALLY want to go visit our friends in all their ministries around the world - Lebanon, Ethiopia, China.  And I REALLY want to support them all financially.  You see a problem here?

So I spent the car ride wondering once again how we got here to ministering in middle class America and where I fit into this ministry.  I'm 95% convinced we're where we're supposed to be, Taylor's probably 99% sure we're being obedient, and our family at Southland Baptist has told me they're 100% sure so my next question is what is my job here in San Angelo, TX.

Full time teaching is a big possibility - what better ministry is there if I can maintain my sanity, which is questionable.  Another big possibility is keeping everything just as is.  I'm content and happy, but bye-bye travels.  Another big possibility is that God will bring something else to my attention he wants me to do.  I decided to wait and trust.

Enter the evils of my reading addiction.  It began with Organized Simplicity, which resulted in me purging my house of all those knick knacks I don't love and those 3 bundt pans and 5 loaf pans I haven't used in 12 years of marriage, among other things.  It also had me looking around our little home (which we were thinking of upgrading as soon as I got that full time teaching job) and reworking areas that weren't working for us.  Amazing!  It also got me questioning and rethinking our social schedule and committments.  I'm making more conscious decisions about how we spend our time.  Read the book!

Then a lovely church member fed my addiction by giving me the book 7 by Jen Hatmaker.  I can't even summarize my thoughts on this book because I'm still working through them.  I'm sure I'll have more to say later.  It's all about reducing, simplifying, and being smart consumers for the benefit of others, (I know, Mom, you already hated my Better World Shopper book and now I'm even worse).  If you are going to read one of these books read 7, unless you don't want how you're living to be challenged, then don't.  It will make you laugh, too. 

So I'm living with this tension of what my life should look like and I don't know what's next.  I'm waiting and trying to make small changes.  At least if you hear me yelling at my Mom that she bought the kids clothes made by slave labor, or you see me standing in the grocery store trying to decide whether to buy that expensive organic food or feed my kids the cheap processed junk so I can stay in my grocery budget, you'll know why.  Blame it on my mid-mid life crisis!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Lesson in Parenting That I Didn't Want to Learn

My daughter cried herself to sleep tonight-and I couldn't make it better.  This may be the first time,.  She had a sleepover planned, but it didn't quite work out.  We made it until 8:45 and her friend wanted to go home.  It happens.  Sophie dissolved into tears as Taylor loaded up her friend and all her stuff.  My mind immediately sprang into action.  Okay, how can I make this better?  I pulled Sophie into my lap on the couch as we finished watching Hugo.  Maybe distraction will work.  "Isn't this a great movie?  Is it like the book?  Did you like it?"  Okay, so she's not 2 anymore and can't be distracted that easily.  More tears.

"Do you want to sleep on your brother's trundle?"  A nod.  Okay, maybe a sleepover with her brother will help so I tuck her into his trundle reminding her to focus on all the fun they got to have together before her friend had to leave.  I leave the room hearing her sobs so of course I must go check on her a few minutes later.  She is no longer in brother's trundle, but in her own bed, still sobbing.  Oh, my heart is breaking.

"Do you want to have a sleepover with me?  You can sleep in my bed."  I was ready to kick Taylor out of his own bed and into Sophie's daybed - anything to make her feel better. But she shook her head no.  "Do you want me to lay in here with you?"  Another no.  What?  My daughter is sad and she doesn't want to be with me?  This is a new one. I can't fix this.  I'm all out of ideas.

I go into my bedroom to find Taylor with his earbuds in.  "Sophie's sad and I can't fix it."  He shrugs. "Disappointment is hard but they have to learn it."  Why can't I be a man? 

So ultimately I go back to Sophie's room, pull the covers off of her sobbing head, climb in next to her and pull her close.  I whisper in her ear how much I love her and how I understand how hard it is to be disappointed.  She holds my hand in both of hers and eventually falls asleep.  See, I knew she needed me.

I don't know how I'm going to make it through the teenage years.  How will I stand it when she doesn't get invited to the party or asked to the dance?  This was a little disappointment that she will probably be over in the morning, but there will be more to come.

This parenting thing is hard in a million ways I didn't think of going into it.  I don't want her to learn disappointment, but she lives in this world and to try to fix everything would do her more harm than good.  But I will push myself into her bed and hold her hand through it (until the day she tells me to get out and leave her alone).  I'm sure that day is a long way off though!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

In honor of Dr. Seuss John Curtis and I made these hats I found on Pinterest for his class snacks.

 Then on Friday he got to go to IHOP with his class and have green eggs and ham.
He actually liked them a lot!